May 12, 2020: The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

Reported by: The Canadian Press

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

1:18 p.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is strongly recommending that Quebecers wear a mask whenever they leave home.

Legault, who wore a mask as he entered his daily briefing, says the mask can help prevent the spread of illness in situations where people can’t stay at least two metres apart.

He announced 118 more deaths in the last 24 hours, for a total of 3,131.

He said there were also 756 new cases for a total of 39,225, including 10,056 who have recovered.

12:50 p.m.

The Manitoba government is nearly doubling its funding this year for youth summer jobs under the Green Team program.

To help ensure kids can find work during the COVID-19 pandemic, funding will rise to $10 million from $5.5 million last year.

The money is given to community groups, municipalities and provincial parks to hire young people for environmentally sustainable projects.

12:45 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is announcing no new cases of COVID-19.

The province has confirmed 261 cases of the illness including 247 recoveries.

Four people are hospitalized due to the illness with one person in intensive care.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says while the virus is under control in the province’s communities, people cannot let their guards down with public health measures.

12:40 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is not going to see mass gatherings or non-essential travel any time soon.

She says the new normal the country may be entering into as Canada starts reopening the economy will not look the same as it did last January.

For example, you can expect to see more Plexiglas and social-distancing measures in stores and shops once they reopen.

12:32 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the next phase of Canada’s COVID-19 response will involve testing people with a wider range of potential symptoms.

Until recently, the government was asking people with mild symptoms to isolate at home without receiving a test.

In order to get a better idea of who has the disease, Tam says Canada needs to start casting a wider net when it comes to who to test.

12:30 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam is advising extreme caution when it comes to reopening the Canada-United States border.

She says Canada needs to see what happens when it eases its own public health measures to contain the virus before allowing foreign travel again.

It will also depend on the international epidemiology.

She says Canada should be looking carefully at the United States’ COVID-19 situation before allowing cross-border travel.

12:25 p.m.

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says there are still challenges keeping Canada from reaching the lab capacity needed to properly test for COVID-19.

Canada is aiming for the capacity to test 60,000 people per day in order to test anyone with symptoms, and asymptomatic people in high-risk environments.

This week Canada is testing an average of 26,000 per day.

He says all provinces and territories are working on increasing their lab capacities though challenges, like transporting samples to the lab, remain.

12:20 p.m.

Public Health officials say there are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 120

The number of active cases is two and 118 people have recovered. Neither of the active cases are in the hospital.

As of today, 18,379 tests have been conducted in New Brunswick.

11:42 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will be very cautious when it comes to reopening international travel.

He would not say whether he expects the Canada-U.S. border to reopen when a mutual ban on non-essential travel expires next week.

But rather he says preventing transmission of COVID-19 into Canada from other countries will be an essential part of preventing a second wave of the outbreak.

He says Canada will need to see a decrease in the number of new cases in the country, and will need to have the ability to detect and track new cases.

11:40 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting only one new case of COVID-19 for the second consecutive day, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,020.

There are no new deaths reported, leaving the province’s total at 48.

Health officials say three licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities still have active cases of COVID-19.

The vast majority are at the Northwood facility in Halifax where there are 157 residents and eight staff with active cases, while one other facility has one staff member with an active case of COVID-19 and another facility has one resident with an active case.

The province says 864 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says seniors have always been a priority in the government’s COVID-19 response, despite only announcing direct financial assistance for them today.

He says from the beginning of the Canadian epidemic the government instituted public health measures to protect vulnerable seniors and provided GST tax credits.

Today he announced seniors who receive old age security will receive a one-time payment of $300, with an additional $200 for those who receive guaranteed income benefits.

11:20 a.m.

A prisoner and several human rights’ organizations have filed suit against the federal government in an effort to compel it to take steps to ensure inmate safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Johnston and organizations that include the Canadian Prison Law Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have filed a constitutional and human rights challenge against the country’s attorney general.

They say they’d like to say the release of prisoners to allow for physical distancing as well as rampant testing for inmates and correctional staff.

11:15 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious flaws in how Canada cares for seniors that governments will need to fix.

Long-term care homes have seen devastating outbreaks of the respiratory illness, including hundreds of deaths across the country.

Trudeau says the federal government will help provinces improve nursing-home care in a lasting way, once the immediate COVID-19 emergency is over.

Long-term care is a provincial responsibility.

Some advocates have called for including it in the Canada Health Act, which would likely mean big infusions of federal money in exchange for provinces’ meeting federal standards.

10:33 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 361 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 56 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 20,907 cases, including 1,725 deaths and 15,391 cases that have been resolved.

The new cases represent an increase of 1.8 per cent over the previous day.

Hospitalizations, the number of people in intensive care and those on ventilator all dropped slightly.

9:40 a.m.

An increasing number of Canadian universities are saying that classes this fall will primarily be online as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa and others have laid out broad plans for how they will handle the fall semester.

Post-secondary institutions across Canada were forced to close their campuses in March due to the COVID-19 health crisis, and rapidly shifted their classes online.

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